Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Miners Alley Playhouse: 1/30 - 3/8

            L-R: Cody Schuyler, Linda Suttle, Sasha Fisher and Mark Collins

  The Cripple of Inishmaan is set in the isles just off the west coast of Ireland in 1934. When crippled Billy, the cow-gazing, book-reading titular character hears that Yank director Robert Flaherty is coming to film "The Man of Aran," he makes plans to leave home for his screen test. McDonagh's writing affords us a glimpse of rural Ireland with more than a dollop of the Irish flair for spinnin' a grand tall tale. One might say that it's a view of humanity "through a glass of the poteen darkly."
     Well cast and paced by director Len Matheo, the show rivets in the intimacy of Miners Alley Playhouse.  
      New to this reviewer,Cody Schuyler turns in an endearing  performance in the role of Billy. It is to be hoped that this will open up many opportunities for this very fine actor to tread the local boards.
     Mark Collins delivers a tour de force in the role of Johnnypateenmik, a relentless busy body who revels in his being the first to announce breaking news to the locals. To his credit, Collins has done excellent work with the dialect coaching as well. Unlike some previous productions in which playwright McDonagh's dialogue has been mercilessy mangled or swallowed, here the wordsmith's glorious prose is beautifully articulated and easily understood.
     Johnnypateenmik's drunken mother (Mammy) is  played with joyous abandon by the darlin' of the Denver stage herself, Carla Kaiser Kotrc. It's been way too long since we've had the pleasure of her company upon the local boards and herself is hereby required to grace our stage far more often. 

                                             Cody Schuyler and Meredith Young

     As Helen, Meredith Young gives the acid-tongued antics of the female gangsta of the neighborhood a spitfire appeal that will stay with you well past St. Paddy's Day. 

     The masterful muggings of  Brandon Palmer are exactly right for his portrayal of Bartley, the local lover of sweeties and victim of the mischievous pranks of young Helen.   
     Linda Suttle and Sasha Fisher play Billy's overprotective aunties with a wink and a grin that's got an underpinning of malevolent bile when they think they've been abandoned by the boy.     Sam Gilstrap turns in his best work to date as Babbybobby.
       Jonathan Scott-McKean's realistic scenic design somehow manages to include the rocky Irish shoreline as well as the requisite quaint rustic interior. 
     Shannon McKinney's lighting design is of the professional quality Colorado audiences have come to expect.  Nicole M. Harrison's patched and tattered costume design is spot on. 

Miners Alley Playhouse presents
"The Cripple of Inishmaan"
Jan. 30 - Mar. 8
Fri/Sat @ 7:30.p.m. Sundays at 6:00 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sun., March 8).
No performance on Sunday, February 1and Saturday, February 14.

Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at
Marlowe's Musings